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Questions for Atheists? Answers for Everyone!   7 comments

I saw these questions on Godless Cranium, and decided I would give answering them a shot. Here are links to some other bloggers who have done the same.

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1.) How would you define atheism?

Atheism is lack of a belief in god or gods. It is not necessarily the positive assertion that there is no god. That would be strong atheism, which some people do believe. But the majority of atheists I know are agnostic atheists like me, because we choose not to make solid knowledge claims.

 

2.) Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don’t believe in (lack belief in God)?

I act according to what I believe. One of those things is that I don’t believe a god exists. However, that is only one of many things I believe, and in fact doesn’t affect my actions very much at all. My view on humanity, justice and mercy, right and wrong, etc., are what actually matter.

I also think this question is just semantics, because I fit both categories. I believe there most likely is no God, there for I lack belief in God. Or I lack a belief in God, and thusly do not believe in Him.

 

3.) Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who “lacks belief” in God to work against God’s existence by attempting to show that God doesn’t exist?

Not necessarily, it depends on their reasons for attempting to do so.

If one is doing it to defend their position while in a debate with a theist, well that’s the whole point isn’t it?

When someone doesn’t want people to legislate their religious beliefs onto them (sharia law, no gay marriage, no abortions,), trying to convince them the premise of their moral system is questionable isn’t inconsistent, although in those cases I would argue they should tackle it a different way.

If someone notices people are making decisions based on false premises, not living their lives to the fullest, or making questionable and harmful choices do to the thought of God being real, trying to show them they don’t need to make those bad choices, could be seen as helping them. However, I would encourage other atheists not to evangelize, since that is just being as bad as the other people who do.

Doing it because you secretly hate god and just want to give him the big middle finger? Well that would be inconsistent. Luckily, that is only a straw man, fake atheist that people love to pretend all atheists are. 🙂

 

4.) How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?

I am as sure as I can be. We have a good picture of what we do know and a system to help us figure out new things. It is a self-correcting system , so old outdated beliefs get removed in place of new discoveries.

Now, I can’t know that it properly represents reality. We could all be programs in a MMORPG; poor suffering NPC’s that are just there for the real heroes’ enjoyment.

But what I won’t do is pretend to know that and convince others it’s true, (As much as I love Star Ocean.) There is no evidence to back up such a belief, and it would be a poor representation of reality without any.

What I do know is that atheism is much closer to representing reality than any literalist interpretation of the Bible, Koran, Book of Mormon, or any other holy book.

 

5.) How sure are you that your atheism is correct?

Similar to above, I’m as sure as I can be. But, as above, I’m sure it is more accurate than religious claims, due to having the most, and best, evidence.

 

6.) How would you define what truth is?

I would argue there is no such thing as an absolute truth. Things we thought true hundreds of years ago are now seen as fantasy, and 200 years from now will probably be no different.

If we say truth is something that corresponds with reality, then we would learn the most reliable truths from testing, observation and evidence. This is also known as the scientific method.

 

7.) Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold?

Because it makes no claims, it doesn’t make me accept things on faith alone, and it doesn’t involve me trying to defend an untenable position. I can believe things based on the evidence for them. Until someone can bring forth good evidence for a deity, this is the best position to hold.

 

8.) Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?

I am neither. I do not identify with either of your made up definitions. I would be a naturalist.

I would also like to state that I find the word supernatural as meaningless. To quote rationalwiki:

Supernatural as a meaningless word: Others believe that the word “supernatural” carries no meaning. For something to be “beyond nature” it would have to have no interaction with nature — and thus any events in that realm would be beyond our perception or meaningful knowledge. However, that does not exclude the possibility that events described as miracles — which occur in the natural world, despite being unusual occurrences — are possible. The key question with “supernatural” events, therefore, is not whether they are supernatural, but rather whether they occur. If they occur, they are not “supernatural,” but rather “unexplained.” If they do not occur, they are not “supernatural,” but rather “fictional.”

So on second thought, I guess I would be a physicalist by your definition. But if you showed evidence for a god, I could still be one, while being a theist. So your definition is flawed.

 

9.) Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview? Why or why not?

I deny atheism is a world view. Atheism is a stance on one question: do you believe in a god or gods? A single question does not constitute a worldview. Just makes up a part of it.

For example, someone could be an atheist, a nihilist, and a solipsist. Someone else could be an atheist who believes in crystal healing, auras, and other new age pseudoscience. They could also be like me, an atheist humanist naturalist.

If your religious beliefs alone denote your whole worldview, you have serious problems, and should reevaluate your worldview into something more meaningful.

 

10. ) Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?

Mostly due to the amount of influence Christianity influences their lives. Maybe they want to have premarital sex. Maybe they want to marry someone of the same-sex. Maybe they don’t want to do anything like that, but they feel people should have the freedom to do so if their beliefs allow it.

Many are also angry.

No, not at god, that would make them angry theists. They are mad at the manipulation, at the lies, at themselves for falling for it all. They are angry that they were kept in the dark for so long. So they try to help people escape the lives they used to live. They are trying to help, but admittedly, their delivery may be harsh at times.

I tend not to be too antagonistic until a religion tries to limit my freedoms. If you have something you don’t want me to be able to do, your argument should be better than, “Because my God says so!” Good for you. But he is not my god, not even if you angrily and repeatedly proclaim he is.

Aside from that though, I’m friendly to Christianity (just ask my friends), I just do not agree with it.

 

11.) If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence?

Never was a believer. I’ve only recently identified as full blow atheist, and went by agnostic before then. So I was never convinced he existed in the first place, and have only gotten more and more convinced that he doesn’t.

 

12.) Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?

Yes, but only because religion teaches you not to question it. Without questions, you cannot learn and grow. But I do also believe people would try to organize around something else, and get just as dogmatic about that.

So realistically things would probably be just ask bad, but in different ways.

 

13.) Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity?

Depends on which sects of Christianity we are talking about.

But with it as a whole gone? Probably the same, just screwed up in different ways.

The more fundamentalist, science, evolution and homosexual hating ones, like the Westboro Baptist Church?

That would be a definite gain.

 

14.) Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder?

Although I may say that belief is mistaken or irrational at times, I would never say it was a mental disorder. I think the atheists who say so are being dicks. They aren’t helping anything and only give us a bad name. No need to be insulting to get your point across, especially if you were once in the same position as them.

 

15.) Must God be known through the scientific method?

Yes, if you wanted to convince atheists of his existence.

If you alone want to have faith in him, though I may think you are misguided, who am I to stop you?

 

16.) If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?

Since I do not believe in the supernatural (see above,) I do believe that in order for God to exist, there would have to be a way that we could see, test, and verify his influence in the natural world. But God himself does not have to be material to prove this.

In fact, I can show something else that falls into that category: gravity. We can’t see gravity, it is not material in the sense we can pick it up, dissect it, or put in on display. But as a force, we can see its effect on the material world extremely simply. We drop an object and it falls down.

The evidence wouldn’t even need to be that simple. But since people claim that the immaterial god affects our material existence, it would leave traces around for us to see and verify.

The reason god isn’t scientific, is because no one can prove god has a measurable effect on the world.

 

17.) Do we have any purpose as human beings?

Yes.

 

18.) If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?

We decide our purpose. Everyone does.

My purpose is to help people attain happiness, and leave this world a better place than I left it.

What about yours?

 

19.) Where does morality come from?

It comes from society, upbringing, human empathy and logic, and other factors.

 

20.) Are there moral absolutes?

I’m on the side of yes. However, this is a very complex subject, and I can see validity in either side’s arguments.

I will say that even though a moral absolute could exist, I don’t believe it would need to be divinely granted to us.

 

21.) If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?

Really only one would be broad enough to qualify: the golden rule.

Now, before I’m jumped on for it, it is not exclusive to Christianity.

It is a part of Buddhism, Existentialism, Taoism, Wicca, etc. and is key part of human empathy. We know what it is like to be hurt, and therefore we know to try not to hurt others, less they hurt us. We like to receive pleasure, and therefore give pleasure so we will receive it.

I will probably write a post about universal versus relative morality in the future, so I won’t explain further here.

But I will state that the ten commandments are an EXTREMELY POOR set of morals, and would most definitely not be any example of a moral absolute.

 

22.) Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?

Yes, although it depends on how you define evil. If we go by the definition of something that is harmful or bad, then it definitely exists. Just take the golden rule and invert it. Do to other what you wouldn’t want done, and there you go.

But I don’t believe there is a cosmic force of evil, just humans acting out of self-interest and selfish gain, although that is over simplifying evil. It’s complicated; too complicated to answer here.

 

23.) If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?

By my morals above, both relative and objective ones. He definitely fails via the golden rule, although it’s hard to hold an omnipotent deity to human morals.

But he also contradicts himself. Example: Thou shalt not kill.

I can’t really find anyone who can defend God’s morals well. They just excuse his bad behavior as His plan, which we could never fathom and understand.

That is not a satisfying answer to me, and I can’t understand why anyone else would be satisfied with it either.

 

24.) What would it take for you to believe in God?

Only God knows. 😉

But seriously, even I don’t know what would be enough. Something that passes rigorous testing and verification via the scientific method would do.

In reality, I just wanted to use the picture. :)

For proper method, see the left side. For improper method, see right.

But if God does exist, he’d know what it would take, so he should do it already to cut the doubt out.

You know, if he exists. 😛

 

25.) What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?

See above.

 

26.) Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what?

Definitely rational, archaeological maybe (I just can’t imagine what that would be), testable yes, and falsifiable. Also see above

 

27.) Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer? Why?

Neither would be safer. I think this question is trying to play with the whole “atheists are moral-less heathens and therefore atheist society would have no morals” thing.

But would one be fairer/better?

Depends on who is in charge, and their world view. Which, as I stated above, religion is just a small part.

 

28.) Do you believe in free will? (Free will being the ability to make choices without coercion).

See this post. My beliefs are still the same.

 

29.) If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?

Actually, I also have a post about that. Free will could technically still exist, just in a much more limited capacity. Read that post for more on that.

As far as defending the idea, I’m not sure I could. But I still don’t see that fact as evidence of a soul, god, etc.

Free will could just be an illusion or it could exist. Neither of those choices necessitates a god.

 

30.) If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become “deity” and not be restricted by space and time? If not, why not?

Wow, this question is… interesting, to say the least.

Firstly, I don’t see why the universe expanding has anything to do with evolution.

Secondly, evolution wouldn’t necessarily work that way, and we don’t have any example of a creature with its brain not physically there. Well, except maybe politicians. But, we will assume it could be possible for the sake of argument, and only for the sake of argument.

So, if evolution and biology worked that way, could it possible? With those assumptions and the fact it is impossible to prove a negative, I guess so.

But probable?

Hell no! We have to make the assumptions to even make it possible. We would also have to learn a whole lot more on how the brain, consciousness, the universe, time space, and everything else works. All that knowledge would have to coincide with your hypothesis, which what we already know right now does not.

I only state it is possible because I can’t say it is impossible at the current time.

 

31.) If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren’t you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?

Ok so I said possible, and in fact highly improbable, but I’ll bite.

By saying yes, I would be admitting there could be, potentially, a deity-like being in (or I guess out) of the universe. But there are a lot of steps between that supposed being and the Judeo-Christian god of the bible.

Plus, what about the other billions of humans? Wouldn’t they have also evolved? Wouldn’t there be billions of deities, not just one? Did they have some massive war, and only the Christian God remained?

If anything, if your premise were true it would prove god like beings, but completely disprove Christianity. God wouldn’t be worth worship, or have a divine plan for us. At best, we’d just be his common ancestor like apes are to us. At worse, we would be some messed up experiment by a divine force playing with us. There would be very little reason to assume he was loving and only looked out for our best interests, aside from hoping that he does.

Not to mention that some Christians would call that idea blasphemy, due to saying humanity could become as omnipotent and omniscient as God. Others would call you LDS.

Those are only some of the problems with your argument. There are many more. It seems like who ever wrote it didn’t have a very good understanding of science, but also loved reading science fiction novels.

This is one of the worst arguments for a god I have ever seen. Seriously. A horrible way to end a list of questions that were decently thought out.

——

 

Well that was fun, and a good way to combat the writer’s block plaguing me.

What are you’re thoughts on this? Leave a comment below, and thanks for reading.

-Shaman

 

 

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7 responses to “Questions for Atheists? Answers for Everyone!

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  1. Interesting post. It’s always interesting to read different takes on common questions. Thanks for the shoutout. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The politician answer had me laughing out loud!

    Great job. I enjoyed reading it.

    I do disagree a bit on the golden rule bit. Maybe I’ll write about it in the near future.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading!

      The joke was a last minute addition; I’m glad you liked it.

      I will probably write something on my thoughts on the golden rue later, but I will say that even if I’m wrong, and morals are relative I’m not going to lose sleep.

      Relative morals aren’t the nihilistic nightmare people try to make them out to be.

      Like

  3. Excellent post. I thought your answers were thoughtful and rational. Thank you for the ping back. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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